The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Fun Murder Mystery Party With the Family This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving with the family can be an interesting affair, particularly if, like mine, your household boasts a range of political beliefs. In the midst of a tumultuous global climate and a significant political divide, I never anticipated that one of my murder mystery games would serve as a unifying force and establish a new holiday tradition. Yet, here we are.


Below, you'll find six simple steps to help you plan a successful murder mystery party with your family this Thanksgiving.

Step 1: Choose your Game

I know there are a lot of Turkey Day Thanksgiving murder mysteries out there, but we're biased because my Christmas-loving family has a tradition of cooking Thanksgiving Dinner while blasting Christmas music. Okay, maybe I have a tradition of blasting Nsync's "Home for Christmas" album while my family roasts the turkey—minor details.


You'll want to find a game that suits your family dynamics. In our case, Horror at the North Pole proved ideal as it catered to our adult group and avoided the typical focus on love affairs. Playing murder mystery games with families can be challenging, given the often-present romantic entanglements in the plotlines, which, let's face it, can get awkward real quick. However, Horror at the North Pole has skillfully crafted storylines suitable for any group, whether friends, co-workers, or family.


And if you're a fan of Tim Allen's "The Santa Clause" movies, you'll find plenty to love in this game. Trust me on this.

Step 2: Get Your Family Buy-In

Now, this step can be a bit trickier than it sounds. Conveying the excitement and charm of a murder mystery party might not be everyone's cup of tea, especially if your family is more accustomed to traditional Thanksgiving activities. Start by highlighting the benefits of this unique experience. Mention the fun of assuming different characters, the thrill of solving a fictional crime together, and the laughter that inevitably ensues as everyone tries to outwit each other. Encourage your family members to embrace the spirit of the game and assure them that it's a great way to create lasting memories.


And when I say it brought my family together, I genuinely mean that.

Step 3: Determine the Right Time to Play

Murder mystery games can be a fun sober activity, but I've found that Thanksgiving brings out more wine than usual in my crew. It's best to strike a balance between the enjoyment of the game and the merriment of the occasion. I'd recommend playing the game after the first Thanksgiving dinner coma sets in. This takes away the pressure from the cooks and lets people rest, watch football, recover their stomachs, and get their stretchy pants on for a bit.


Another great idea is to have this activity on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. This allows everyone to fully savor the holiday feast without the added pressure of fitting in a complex game between courses. Moreover, it serves as a fantastic way to extend the holiday spirit and keep the family engaged in a fun, interactive experience.


Step 4: Set the Stage and Atmosphere

Transform your living room or game area into a thrilling crime scene. Dim the lights, play some mysterious background music, and encourage everyone to get into character with some basic costumes and props. Creating a captivating atmosphere goes a long way in enhancing the overall experience and ensuring that everyone feels fully immersed in the murder mystery plot. Mischief Games recommends using this Pinterest Board for decoration inspiration.


If decorations feel too daunting or if your budget is tight, not to worry! While setting the stage and adding a mysterious atmosphere can enhance the murder mystery party experience, it is absolutely not a must. My family had to quickly rush through the game during my sister's newborn's naptime, so we were crammed in a tight basement space and used our existing Christmas decorations to set the mood.

Step 5: Unleash Your Inner Detective

This is the moment you've all been waiting for! As the game begins, encourage everyone to channel their inner Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. Take time to immerse yourself in the storyline, interact with other characters, and follow the clues meticulously. Remember, the key to a successful murder mystery party lies in the enthusiasm and engagement of each participant.

Step 6: Enjoy the Aftermath

Once the mystery is solved, it's time to revel in the collective triumph and share a good laugh over the evening's events. Discuss the unexpected twists, the humorous accusations, and the moments when everyone was convinced they had cracked the case. These shared experiences will undoubtedly strengthen your family bond and create cherished memories that will be reminisced about for years to come.


Hosting a murder mystery party during Thanksgiving can truly be an unforgettable experience. It not only adds a unique twist to the traditional holiday festivities but also fosters a sense of camaraderie and excitement among family members.


So, why not spice up this year's Thanksgiving with a thrilling dose of mystery and intrigue? And who knows, maybe this new experience will even be something you find yourself grateful for when sharing Thanksgiving appreciations.


Stay tuned for more tips and tricks on how to make this Thanksgiving the most memorable one yet!

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